Essential Calligraphy Tools by Christian Bélanger

We asked Christian Bélanger to share his list of essential tools which may inspire you to try some new products. Christian Bélanger is a graphic design teacher at Cégep Marie-Victorin and a member of the Société des calligraphes since 2015.


Walnut ink is my favorite because it provides beautiful textures and a wide variety of tones. My preferred broad-edged nib is the Brause Bandzug (paired with the Caran d’Ache 114 penholder) because it is rigid and precise. For large works, I use the automatic pen for the same reasons. My beloved pointed nib is the Nikko G (teamed up with the Hourglass Adjustable Oblique penholder) because its stiffness allows for greater control.

Hourglass Adjustable Oblique with Nikko G nib, and Caran D’Ache 01 with Brause nib. Picture by Christian Bélanger

Occasionally, I like to work with the Pilot Parallel Pen because it is very practical (I use it when I teach Fraktur). I love working with a flat brush (especially with the Winsor & Newton 995 Series and H.J. White Taklon 950 Series) and acrylic (specifically with the Heavy Body products from the Golden company) for the feel and the results they provide.

Brushes and Golden acrylic. Picture by Christian Bélanger

When it comes to using the brush pen, I juggle between the Pentel Art Brush Pen, the Pentel Arts Pocket Brush Pen, the Pentel Aquash Brush Pen and the Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers.

Pentel Art Brush Pen. Picture by Christian Bélanger.
Tombow brush pens. Picture by Christian Bélanger.

Speaking of markers, Crayola markers (yes, the ones for children!) are indispensable to me; their wide conical tip easily allows the production of thick and thins. For less controlled and more expressive works, the Horizon Folded Pen pleases me enormously.


Regarding papers, I have a weakness for kraft paper when I work with a flat brush because it is lightly colored and compatible with acrylic. In general, I like the Clairefontaine brand of paper (Graf it and PaintON notebooks, etc.), as well as the Rhodia A4 No.18 Blank notebook for pointed pen and Parallel Pen work. For final pieces, I select a cold pressed, fine or medium grain watercolor paper such as Canson XL, Arches, etc., Saint-Armand paper, and the Artagain® Black Pastel Paper Pad by Strathmore.